Litmus Films

Portable Antiquities Scheme

If you’re one of Britain’s 10,000 metal detectorists, you know the Portable Antiquities Scheme is Britain’s best-kept, and worst-named, secret. 

To most archaeologists, detectorists were once treasure-hunting vandals. For the rest of us, they’re still regarded as solitary figures glimpsed on the horizon, the butt of jokes about obsessive anoraks.     

But since 2003, thanks to the British Museum-administered Portable Antiquities Scheme, they’ve transformed our understanding of our own history, and most archaeologists now see them as valued collaborators.

This film is a long-overdue celebration of metal-detecting, and of the atrociously-named project that deserves its own peace and reconciliation award.